Inspired by the move to a smaller house, by the feeling that I’m being covered in clutter, and perhaps a little by Alice Walker’s “The Blue Bowl” and the idea of divestiture, I’ve been making lots of trips to the donation bin and the dumpster. (Actually, I’ve been filling trash bags and my dear husband has been going to the dumpster when he fills the pickup bed. There is a lot of junk.) However, some things are going to be keepers. I know that’s a self-evident statement, but some things are going to be keepers just because I like them, no practical reason otherwise. Here is one--the globe that I got as a Christmas present when I was nine, I think. I need to do some research. I was very proud of this globe, and the grandkids like it.
Look closely. I took an Africa/Europe shot because the political map has changed more obviously there than elsewhere. However, what makes this globe really unique is something else. See that gold ball? That is a satellite tracker. If you knew the coordinates of orbit--and when satellites were new, they used to be published--you could set two points on the ring by scooting the brackets and then you could see where the rest of the orbit fell. In short, you could find out if that satellite was coming over YOUR house. Who cared? Well, in those early days and even for awhile after the beginnings of manned space flight, it was possible to see some of the bigger satellites at night if conditions were right and you had a telescope. Echo 2 was visible to the naked eye. I can remember spreading sleeping bags on the backyard grass that summer and lying out there at night with the family watching it track across the sky. I suppose this globe reminds me of a simpler time when we didn’t take space exploration for granted and above all, of parents who were interested in what was going on in the world and who bought me what was then a fairly expensive Christmas present because they cared about my education. The house I’m leaving this month is the house with that backyard, but the globe is going with me.